Farmland Preservation

Farmland Preservation Program

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Program was developed in 1988 to strengthen Pennsylvania's agricultural economy and protect prime farmland.  The Washington County Commissioners adopted a resolution December 1, 1994, establishing the County Agricultural Land Preservation Board for purchasing agricultural conservation easements from landowners whose land is located within an agricultural security area.  The program is designed to protect viable agricultural lands by acquiring agricultural conservation easements which prevent the development or improvement of the land for any purpose other than agricultural production.
According to the American Farmland Trust, Pennsylvania is losing more than 40 acres of farmland daily.  Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation with 5,636 farms and 577,092 acres protected through permanent agricultural conservation easement. Washington County landowners need applauded for their commitment of 45 farms totaling 6,955 acres preserved in perpetuity.

Landowners interested in applying to the Washington County Farmland  Preservation Program need to submit an application prior to the September 30 deadline. Applications are accepted on a yearly basis and landowners must meet the following requirements to apply to the farmland preservation program:

  • A minimum of 50 acres; or at least 10 acres and utilized for a crop unique to the area; or 10 acres and adjacent to an already preserved farm
  • Enrolled in an Agricultural Security Area consisting of 500 acres or more
  • Contain at least 50% of soils which are available for agricultural production and are of Land Capability Classes I-IV, as defined by the Soil Survey published by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Contain the greater of 50% or 10 (ten) acres of harvested cropland, pasture or grazing lands.
  • Landowners must exhibit good land stewardship including but not limited to the use of conservation and best land management practices such as soil, sedimentation control and nutrient management.

Available Materials

2022 Public Informational Meeting Announcement
Farmland Preservation Policies and Bylaws (Updated October 2020)
Farmland Preservation Policies and Bylaws Appendix H - Priority Agricultural Area Map (Revised for 2022)
Farmland Preservation Appendix A - Landowner Application
IRS W-9 Form

Agricultural Security Areas

Agricultural Security Areas (ASA) are a tool for protecting our farms and farmland from non-agricultural uses. Twenty-eight municipalities in Washington County participate in the Agricultural Security Area program, which entitles farmers to special consideration from local and state government agencies and also encourages continuous use of the land for productive agricultural purposes. An ASA qualifies land for consideration under the farmland preservation program at the owner's request if the ASA has at least 500 acres enrolled.  For more information, please visit the PA Department of Agriculture website:

Agricultural Security Area Web Page.

Program News and Notes

- Applications for the Farmland Preservation Program accepted through
September 30, 2022

Farmland Preservation Board (3 Year Term)

Name Term Expires
Mr. William I. Iams, Chairman (Farmer) 12/31/2022
Mr. Robert O'Brien (Citizen) 12/31/2023
Mr. Jeremy Matinko (Citizen) 12/31/2024
Mr. Richard Shriver (Building Contractor) 12/31/2024
Mr. William Paxton (Farmer) 12/31/2023
Mr. Wayne Hunnell (Farmer) 12/31/2024
Mr. Earl Sadler (Elected Official) 12/31/2022

Farmland Preservation Easement Summary

Township Number of Farms Acres Preserved
Amwell 3 508.602
 Canton 2 499.13
Chartiers 3 407.128
Cross Creek 3 529.2577
Cross Creek/Jefferson 1 96.23
 Cross Creek/Smith 1 117.85
Deemston 1 170.426
Hanover 2 327.21
Hopewell 12 1,920.0224
Hopewell/Mount Pleasant 4 619.766
Independence 4 554.2816
Mount Pleasant 3 390.87
North Bethlehem 1 274.328
Somerset 1 47.177
 South Strabane 1 86.29
West Bethlehem 2 262.12
West Pike Run 1 146.827
 TOTAL 45 6,957.5157